Fear Not!

In the marketplace, the Christmas Season gets into full gear the day after Thanksgiving. In the Christian tradition, the days leading up to December 25th are not the Christmas season at all, but the season of Advent. Advent comes from the Latin word meaning arrival or “to come, ” and it is the season of anticipating the coming of Christ. We think about it in in two ways; the coming of Christ at Bethlehem and the continuous coming of Christ into our lives and our world, until the whole creation is reconciled to God and ruled by love. When that day comes, fear will be banished, for, “there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” In the meantime, fear is a very real part of the human experience.

The dictionary defines fear this way: a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined. Psychologists study common fears and phobias and remind us that people are most afraid of things like flying, public speaking, heights, intimacy, and commitment. Sociologists study the particular fears of Americans and tell us we have growing fears of terrorism, governmental corruption, and not having enough money for the future. I wonder what the common fears were when Jesus made his entrance into the world. One thing is for sure, the reminder not to be afraid is a common theme in the stories surrounding his birth. The priest Zechariah is terrified when he suddenly encounters an angel while simply performing his priestly duty. Mary is likewise perplexed when an angel unexpectedly visits her with some daunting news. Joseph is afraid to marry Mary; he wants to “dismiss her quietly” in order to avoid public disgrace when an angel appears to him in a dream. You remember the shepherds; they were just doing their jobs, tending their sheep on the night watch, when the sky ignited with light, and they were terrified. Zechariah, Joseph, Mary, and the shepherds are all greeted with the same proclamation: FEAR NOT! During Advent, we will be exploring these narratives and how they might speak to the fears we live with today.

Good News and Great Joy to all of you, 

Pam Driesell
Senior Pastor